The last service between Kapiti Coast and Auckland will operate on 3 April 2018. Passengers booked to travel on this service past this date will be re-accommodated on alternative services.
Air New Zealand backs off again
By Roger Childs
In 2015 they stopped flights to Christchurch and now the Auckland service is being canned.
The airline gave a typical excuse along the lines that it had to make domestic schedule adjustments to match its seat capacity to areas with growing customer demand.
There is huge disappointment in the area from Porirua north, especially for people who have used the service regularly or intermittently without having to travel all the way into Wellington and out to Rongotai.
What lies ahead?
There are other users of the airport such as owners of small planes, flying instructors, helicopter operators and glider pilots. Also the services to Nelson and Blenheim continue.
However, after last year’s announcement that fringe land on the perimeter of the airport had been freed up for housing and commercial development, it would be tempting for owners, Todd Property, to close down the airport and make a packet selling off the land to developers.
The queue could be starting to form.
Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC), is putting on a brave face. Mayor Gurunathan has said
We’re confident in the airport’s long term future. Last night I spoke with Evan Davies from airport owners Todd Property and it was heartening to hear him reinforce his company’s commitment to Kāpiti.
Air New Zealand has said that would support any other airline wanting to take up the link with the City of Sails.
Sounds Air is cautious, however Managing Director, Andrew Crawford commented: Now that Air New Zealand are pulling out, we might have to review the situation.
Reality: a tough road ahead
The Kapiti – Auckland air-link will cease after April 3. As we all know, getting workable replacements for dis-established services can be difficult, especially when the biggest player in the field has pulled the plug.
The Kapiti Coast is an expanding area and population will continue to grow, especially after the Transmission Gully highway completes the multi-lane access to Wellington in 2020.
KCDC, local businesses and other pressure groups need to cooperate if the airport is to be saved and services expanded.
Iride McCloy, who is a Member of the NZ Institute of Travel and Tourism in NZ and has had decades of experience is setting up and coordinating travel services in the Kapiti area, observes:
We have been successful in the past having a private – satellite airline in Kapiti, and this can again be achieved.
We must work collaboratively together with experienced people in addressing this new direction presented to us and look at alternative methods in bringing visitors to our gorgeous coast.